Sam Rugege

Justice Prof Sam Rugege 

Chief Justice of Rwanda

DPhil Sociology (1980)

Professor Sam Rugege has sat on the bench of the Supreme Court of Rwanda since 2004, first as Vice President and then, since 2012, as Chief Justice. Educated at Makerere University in Uganda (LLB) and then Yale (LLM), Professor Rugege’s first academic position was as a lecturer in Law at Makerere. Soon after returning to Makerere, however, he was forced to flee the terror of Idi Amin’s regime. He subsequently studied for a DPhil at St Peter’s, writing a thesis on chieftaincy and society in Lesotho.

After his doctorate, he took up academic positions at the Universities of Lesotho and Swaziland, was a Visiting Scholar at Cornell, and ultimately became Professor of Law at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), where he taught Constitutional Law – a position which ended when he was elevated to the bench.

While at UWC, he was involved in the writing of the 2003 Constitution of Rwanda, which entrenches the independence of the judiciary, the rule of law and the protection of human rights, as well as providing a unique system of power-sharing in government.

Justice Rugege is an Honorary Fellow of St Peter's.